The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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The Museum of You by Carys Bray

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Buy The Museum of You by Carys Bray at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Clover Quinn liked to think of herself as a surprise. A pleasant one. At least that's what she always thought; but now she isn't so sure. In a room full of her late mother's belongings, Clover tries to find out the story of her life, told by looking at it from another perspective – Becky Brookfield's to be exact… her mother. She wants answers, but doesn't really know what questions to ask.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Hutchinson
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0091959609

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It's summer, school is out, the days are long, the bumblebees are big and blousy and the allotment where Clover helps her dad with the vegetables needs weeding and watering. She likes the allotment; it helps her think. This summer, Clover is going to unravel the mystery of her mother, Becky Brookfield and work out what makes her father so sad. All the time. It's hard to be a kid with a dead mother, but Clover thinks it's even harder to be dad with a dead wife.

In the last days of the summer term, a school trip to a local museum where the exhibits are catalogued and their various vagaries are bullet pointed for all to see, gives Clover a marvellous idea. She is going to make a museum of her own, at home. She is going to treat the life of Becky Brookfield like her own exhibition and see if she can't find out who her mother was. And this time, Clover wants the full story.

The Museum of You is a beautiful read. Clover is all the things we like to remember about ourselves as 11 year olds. She is guileless and naive, open and curious – a blank page, waiting for the world to help us write our story. However, it is that same curiosity that sets her apart from most child characters. The relationship Clover has with her father Darren is intricate and multi-faceted. She has a depth of understanding that you can actually feel; wise beyond her years but remaining innocent and somehow unknowing. Darren's sorrow is fathomless but so is his love for his daughter. It is these two facts that are what somehow keeps him going.

What Bray is offering to us in this gorgeous tale is a peek into the simple lives of two people who have experienced unparalleled sadness in a way that is neither obtrusive nor shallow. It's clever, is what it is… I don't know how you can tell a story so poetically and yet thoroughly without seeming to lift off the characters' lids and peer in, but she does and she can. Oh boy, she can.

To summarise, Clover does get to understand the full story, but not in the way you might think and what she ends up with is a much greater understanding of her father and the ties that bind them. It's a really lovely book. Bittersweet and compassionate, tender and moving; I think you will simply love it.

If The Museum of You sounds like it might appeal, you probably want to take a look at the author's first novel, A Song For Issy Bradley which is a wonderful read. You might also fancy a look at The Land of Decoration by Grace McCleen as it sort of treads a line of similarity between the plots of Bray's two books.

Finally our huge thanks to the kind folks at Hutchinson for sending us this copy for review.

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Buy The Museum of You by Carys Bray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Museum of You by Carys Bray at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Museum of You by Carys Bray at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Museum of You by Carys Bray at Amazon.com.

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